Written by Debbie Diller
Published by Stenhouse Publishers in 2008
Review copy provided by the publisher
It’s a new year, not a new school year… so why think about reorganizing your classroom now instead of over the summer? Well, if you’re like me, you’re noticing your students are getting bigger, by-the-day! Their bodies are growing and they’re therefore accidentally bumping into things as they move across the classroom. Another reason I’m considering a re-org is because I don’t think I’m effectively using my wall space. And finally, the third reason I’ve been thinking about a re-org is due to the fact that I’m not 100% satisfied with the placement of the items in the meeting area since kids have to often shift their seats when I’m reading aloud and then when I’m using the projector screen since they can’t see the screen from their rug spot.
I had the opportunity to read through Debbie Diller’s Book Spaces & Places: Designing Classrooms for Literacy yesterday. I wanted to read it in order to motivate me to start thinking about how I can effectively and efficiently reorganize my classroom when the kids return on January 5th. While I need and want their input on a few things, there are a few ideas I got from reading Diller’s Book that I am going to put into place so as to make sure my classroom keeps running like a well-oiled machine. Based on Diller’s Book, here are some changes that are coming very soon:
- Traffic Patterns (pg. 18): I’ll be making a clearer path from the meeting area to the desks for all students (some have to zigzag to get from place-to-place right now).
- Writing Partner Work Space (pg. 85): Joining two extra desks together and topping it with a dollar store tablecloth is a great way to create an extra-special space for writing partners to work together.
- Fixing-Up the Word Wall (pgs. 148 & 151): The Word Wall I created a few months ago contains high-frequency words and words my students stated they needed to know how to spell. However, it’s not utilized much. Therefore, I want to create a wall of interesting words, probably taken from our IRA Books and from our spelling patterns, and put those on the Word Wall since those are, most often, the words my students are hoping to spell. (I love that they want to use the words they’ve learned during Word Study and Vocabulary in their writing!)
Those are the impending changes I’ll be making for the new calendar year. However, Diller’s book already got me thinking about the next school year… I am going to try out one of the more sophisticated color schemes Diller suggested on pgs. 34, 78, and 128. I’ve had a blue-colored classroom for the past five years, it’s time for a color change!
I am a literacy consultant who has spent over a decade working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grade K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).